ATLANTA – The injury bug is once again making its way through the Boston Celtics roster and the timing – as if there’s ever a good time – could not be any worst.
In addition to not having Avery Bradley (hamstring) for Game 2 and most likely the rest of their first round series against Atlanta, the Celtics are also trying to weather a storm of injuries that includes Kelly Olynyk (right shoulder), Marcus Smart (left index finger which is taped) and Isaiah Thomas (left wrist).
Smart and Thomas’ injuries won’t keep them out of the lineup on Tuesday, and Olynyk’s right shoulder injury, which sidelined him for 12 games earlier this season, isn’t expected to keep him out of the lineup on Tuesday either.
But it has made what was viewed as a challenging series, all that much tougher for Boston. And it has once again put the Celtics into “next man up” mode, which has worked out well for them most of the time.
“You don’t have a choice when you do test it out,” said Evan Turner, referring to Celtics players stepping up for injured teammates. “But we have done it over the past month and a half. The good thing is the young guys, they’ve been able to get a feel, get some rhythm playing because we had a few guys down. Now it’s all about stepping up and playing tough.”
Said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. “We have to have others step up. The biggest thing is, we’re playing small anyway. You might have to go even deeper into that, which is okay.”
Among those Stevens will likely turn to with Bradley out, is rookie guard Terry Rozier.
Rozier, the 16th pick in last June’s NBA draft by the Celtics, appeared in 39 regular season games (17 of the last 19) for the Celtics, averaging 1.8 points and 1.6 rebounds per game.
Look for the rookie to see his first playoff action on Tuesday night.
“Things like this have happened all my life,” Rozier told CSNNE.com. “I have an opportunity. It’s up to me to make the most of it.”